US Southwest, May 2008


Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Let's Ride
There is much to enjoy On The Road

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Smokey says..
That is a good thing, I guess. Probably because of all that wet stuff we saw coming down...

I am always surprised to see this: border control in the US ! One would think it possible to have the same regulations in place in all of the United States?!
Or it is perhaps something that keeps itself in place.

John Stewart followed it up with this reaction:
"I have really enjoyed the photos of your western US travels. That is where I am originally from (Oakland,CA) and I flew around the west a lot when I was building time and crop dusting. Anyway, the California border crossings were instituted to keep non-native animals and crops out of California. Many people do not realize agriculture is the largest industry in California.
A few years ago the state legislature tried to abandon the 'border posts' but was unsuccessful.
So, yes, you can still travel state to state without a passport, but you had better not have a non-California orange or apple with you..."

Nice, that Frontier-look..

We practically lived from gasstation/groceries like these

Cash Store

Just another abandoned building I liked..

I drove in these parts somewhere during 1997 and photographed this 'thing' at that time too.
And I still don't know what it is !!

John Olafson came to the rescue with following explanation:
"I have been enjoying your travel updates and noticed this photo. It is called a beehive burner. It is used at sawmills to burn waste materials such as sawdust, bark, other debris from the sawmilling process. There usually is a conveyer bringing the material into the burner.
These types of burners are almost extinct as they create a tremendous amount of pollution in the atmosphere not to speak of the fly-ash that usually settles over everything in the immediate area. In British Columbia where I live, the use of these burners was made illegal several years ago and most have been cut up and sent to the smelter. In some cases there will be some remaining in remote locations where the entire operation has been abandoned.
I remember the sight of them at night, when you could see them glowing bright red from great distances. They looked pretty, but were definitely bad for the environment."

Henry Young added:
"The Cone structure is a 'Teepee Burner', used at lumber mills to burn waste and generate steam or electrical power to run the operation. Every mill had at least one, if not more.
They began vanishing in the late 1950s, until now its very rare to see one.
They caused more than a few fires and the smoke could be very thick. I think also that the waste
products of bark, sawdust and scraps began to have more value for pulp, chip and fiber board, than the power they produced."

Diner, lovely

A very local diner.
They served a good hamburger & onion rings (of which I had only a few these 3 weeks, honest!)


I love buildings like these, don't you?

Rugged classic car
Nice (rugged) ride..


San Fran area

Back in the San Francisco area. We were on our way to visit Muir Wood Nat'l Monument


Muir Woods
We had a fantastic walk here, very relaxing, like time stood still (except it didn't)



Muir Woods National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service in Marin County, California, 12 miles (19 km) north of San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It protects 554 acres (2.24 km˛) of forested area populated by Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), one of the last remaining stands in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area.
One hundred fifty million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be found only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey to Oregon. [Wikipedia]
Tall Trees! redwoods!

John Muir (April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of conservation of U.S. wilderness. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, and wildlife, especially in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, have been read by millions



Fog over San Francisco
The sun is gone, clouds are invading the coastal area
Fort at San Francisco Bridge
There is a fort here, but people come here for..
'the Bridge'


San Francisco weather We'd had such a good start, that walk in the wood had been warm... Now look at this: cloudy in spite of a cold wind blowing.
Actually, this was the weather we'd met on arrival so we'd come full circle !

Henry Young wrote me the following:
That the coastal fog... I live inland and in the summer, it is not unusual to have a 50 degree (Fahrenheit) drop over 25 miles from inland to the coast!
San Francisco generally has very cool, foggy summer weather; in fact so much so the residents amuse themselves by watching the summer tourists shivering in shorts and t-shirts..
Conditions are best in September/October.
Mark Twain was once quoted as saying: 'the worst winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco!'



San Francisco Bridge

And this is where it ends.. We had driven over 7.000 kms (4.400 miles) and would have liked to stay longer, seen even more, take more time to look at things closer, have visited more people, spent more time with them... But then it was good to go home too!